What Do We Teach?
US History 1 is a course that covers the history of the United States from just before the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. However, a history course is much more than just what happened during a certain time. The study of history is about understanding the past, using evidence to decide what really happened and why, and using that knowledge to create a better future.

In Massachusetts, history teachers have two sets of standards, or lists of required topics and skills, to include in their classes. The state has decided what will be taught in each course. These are the standards.

First, we must teach the history content. This are the facts about what we think happened in the past. But it also includes some exploration of why things happened and students will be expected not just to remember facts and dates, but to explain why things happened.

Second, history teachers are responsible for helping students learn important ELA literacy skills. Things like reading for understanding, crafting an argument, organizing your thoughts, and more. Some students ask "Why is this history class just another ELA class?" Well, because it is. We use the history content to teach you to write, think and speak.

For more information about the state standards (sometimes also called frameworks), visit the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. Remember that there are both social studies and ELA standards assigned to this course.

In US History 1 at PHS, we also include some particular skills related to being a historian. This includes things like understanding an event as part of a larger era or time period, making an argument about history, and interpreting historical documents and sources.